Monthly Archives: December 2010

Beef & Broccoli

This is my first time making a Pioneer Woman recipe. Of course, I am not disappointed.  And while I don’t crave Chinese food too often, when I do cave and get some takeout, I always feel gross and sticky after. If you make it at home, you know exactly what is in it (no MSG, nice lean cut of flank steak, etc.).  Throw any vegetable you like in there, too.

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Chicken Stuffed with Prosciutto, Fontina, and Herbs

I had to triple-check to make sure I hadn’t posted this before. This used to be one of my stand-by recipes; the one,  while I was still getting my feet wet in the kitchen, I could still confidently serve another human being and feel good about it. I found myself with all of the ingredients for this dish in the fridge, and was reminded of how much I love it!

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Oven Dogs

I have a soft spot for hot dogs.

And melted cheese (obvs).

Then you introduce chili and lots of fun condiments.

Then a snowstorm hits and suddenly this is the most perfect food ever.

B and I had fun making these together. They’re messy and yummy, and actually not all that bad for you, considering the turkey dogs and turkey chili we used. Next time I might ease up on the relish (a little too sweet for me) and add more mustard and some spicy stuff (jalapenos? yes. ).

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Eggnog Cranberry Muffins

When I saw these muffins, I knew I had to try to make them. It is no secret that I am not an accomplished (or willing) baker, but these just looked too good. Well, I’m happy to report that these came out perfect, and was a lovely breakfast on a super snowy morning.

Here’s what we’re dealing with in Boston today.

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Prosciutto Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Fontina and Sage

ZOMG these are good. Perfect blend of salty, sweet, and savory. Yum. These were brought to my family’s house on Christmas so unfortunately I didn’t get a picture when they came out of the oven. Let me assure you that they get nice and crispy and a little oozy with cheese. Perfect make-ahead appetizer, too.

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Chicken & Dumplings

We’re in the middle of a snowstorm here in Boston and this is some perfect comfort food for such an event. While this recipe uses some shortcuts (which I’m happy to use), it is still a super wholesome and delicious chicken soup. This base soup would be great with noodles instead of the dumplings too, if you want to mix it up.

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Roasted Broccoli Rabe

I had purchased a bunch of broccoli rabe at the beginning of the week with the best intentions. However, when time to use it, I just did not feel like dealing with it. Broccoli rabe is a little fussy in that it usually needs to be blanched in boiling water before sauteing because of its inherent bitterness (which I love). This was a little too high maintenance for me, especially after an afternoon of preparing a Christmas Eve appetizer, dessert, and a Christmas Day breakfast and appetizer, all in advance. Forget about it. So, I decided to be lazy and roast the broccoli rabe (roasting veggies is so great — you barely have to be involved and it always comes out delicious). Behold my new favorite way to prepare broccoli rabe. 350 oven. Sprinkle of salt, pepper, a little olive oil, and a couple of cloves of thinly sliced garlic. 10 minutes and you’re done. Perfect.

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Bangers & Mash

Brian’s been asking me to make bangers and mash foreverrrr. Why in god’s name did I wait so long?? It’s SAUSAGE and MASHED POTATOES. How bad can that be? Overall, this is one of the best mashed potatoes recipes I’ve ever made, and the sausages couldn’t be easier or yummier. Make this!

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Bacon and Butternut Squash Pasta (cooking light)

I knew when I saw this recipe in my inbox that I would be making it. My former roommate apparently thought the same thing because she forwarded the same recipe to me moments later saying, “I know you like bacon”. Well folks, it’s true. And this dish highlights it beautifully.

This recipe features a new sauce-making technique for me — “dry-roasting” flour before it’s eventually combined with milk to make a “roux”. That’s right — no fat of any kind in the roux. It felt weird, but I was willing to give it a shot in the name of lighter cooking, and it turned out great! The sauce is super creamy, with a nice tang thanks to the provolone. The butternut squash and bacon make this dish a-mazing. It’s a great weeknight meal because it can be made wholly in advance, or a few things can be done in advance (like prepping and roasting the squash, cooking the bacon and shallots, and storing it all together, like I did)

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Italian Breaded Steak

This steak reminds me of my Sicilian nana. This woman could make anything taste delicious, and this dish is just one example.

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Sweet Potato Asiago Polenta

The photos of the next couple recipes I am going to post (including this one) are far from stellar. The budding snobby food blogger inside me wants to not post them, but the food was just too good not to.  First up, Sweet Potato Asiago Polenta. Ohmigod so good. The sweet potatoes add a ton of nutrition too. To make this weeknight-friendly, I baked and pureed the sweet potatoes over the weekend when I had more time and just stored it in the fridge ’til I needed them. This was a perfect accompaniment to other such ugly food as my Italian Breaded Steak and Italian Beans with Tomatoes, coming up soon.

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Crafty.

I used to go all out in terms of decorating my apartment for Christmas. Well, by “all out”, I mean I would invite my garden club president of a mother over and she’d bring lots of garland, branches, lights, spray painted tin foil trees, cranberries, etc. and go to town on my window sills. These days, partly because of the huge liability that pickle and bert (our cats) present, I’m lucky if I get my Christmas tree up and decorated in a half-decent way.

So, since I was feeling a little extra crafty last night (and I had some time to kill while Brian assembled our sweet new media stand thing) I decided to decorate a little for an upcoming holiday party on Friday, namely by gift-wrapping my only two kitchen cabinets.  Cute, right? Let’s see if the cats (and me) can resist tearing it down for a few days!

And, if you’re anything like me, you like a good peek in your friend’s cabinets. C’mon. You know you do. Click in for more…

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Chicken, Broccoli*, & Ziti*

This is my take on the classic Italian-American dish Chicken, Broccoli, and Ziti, which I’ve been craving lately for some reason. I changed it up and used whole wheat rigatoni instead of ziti and brussels sprouts leaves instead of broccoli since I’m going through a brussels sprouts thing right now. This was yummy! Tasted eerily like any mac & cheese I’ve ever made, yet there was no cheese….interesting. Anyway, try this! It was yum.

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French Dip Sandwiches

When it’s been in the 20s all week, come Friday I want some comfort food. For me, this usually means carbs of some variety, so I thought I’d make one of my favorite sandwiches for us. Roast beef covered in melted provolone on garlic bread. TGIF.

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Roasted Brussels over Polenta with Pancetta

I think I might love….
brussels sprouts. A couple of weeks ago you couldn’t have gotten me to touch a brussels sprout. But now? Amazing. Serving it with my second favorite food of the moment (polenta) doesn’t hurt, either.

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Pumpkin and Greens Tagine

It’s December 8 and my first post of the month. I think this is the longest I’ve gone without blogging/cooking anything of note for a long while!

It’s good to be back. And with a bang, too. This dish is special. I ripped this recipe from my Boston Globe magazine with haste because a) i’ve been badly wanting to go to the restaurant that yields the original dish (Baraka in Central Sq., Cambridge), b) it looked so darn good.

I took a few liberties with the recipe. First, the recipe features swiss chard and i kinda abhor swiss chard. This, and anything in the beet family, tastes like formaldehyde to me. So I swapped it out for a bag of “southern greens” from Trader Joe’s (I love this stuff — I buy it all the time and just saute in olive oil with garlic. So good), which is just chopped collard greens, turnip greens, and spinach.  This was a good move. Second, I didn’t have cilantro and it’s been rubbing me the wrong way lately so I just omitted it. Also a good move. Third, I used butternut squash instead of proper pumpkin, but I think there is so little difference there anyway. Try this — it’s amazing!

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